Emails purporting to be from Canadian lottery winner Tom Crist claim that you have been selected to receive a large cash donation.
The emails are not from Tom Crist. They are advance fee scams designed to trick recipients into sending their money and personal information to criminals. Mr Crist really did win a very large lottery prize and he indeed gave all of his winnings to charity. However, he is not distributing the money to random strangers via the Internet.
prize is writing to inform you that Google in alliance with Facebook have
submitted your Email-Address to receive $1,200,000.00 USD from me, as I have
decided to give all my winnings away to charity, individuals and
organisations.For claims, send me your *Full-Names, *Age, *Phone-Number, *Address and
*Country.my recent donations on link below;
From: Tom Christ
Hello you have a donation of 4,800,000.00USD, I won the America lottery in America worth $40 million, and i am giving a portion of it to five lucky people and charity homes in memory of my late wife who died of cancer. Contact me for more details:
An ongoing series of fake donation emails have been hitting inboxes since 2014.
According to the emails, the lucky recipient has been chosen to receive a very large sum of money from generous Canadian lottery winner Tom Crist. The emails claim that Tom Crist has decided to give all of his more than forty million dollar prize to “charity, individuals and organisations”.
Tom Crist is a real person and he really did win a very large prize in a Canadian lottery. And, Mr Crist told media outlets that he intended to donate his entire $42 million prize to charity.
However, these emails are not from Tom Crist and recipients will certainly not receive the unexpected million-dollar windfall that the messages promise. In fact, the messages are advance fee scams designed to separate naïve recipients from their money and personal information.
Those who take the bait and reply with their information as instructed will soon receive follow-up messages from “Tom” that claim that various fees must be paid in advance before the funds can be released. The scammer – still pretending to be Tom Crist – will claim that the money is required to cover legal and insurance costs, tax, banking fees, and a host of other – entirely imaginary – expenses.
The scammers will make it clear that if the recipient does not pay all of the requested fees up front, he or she will forfeit the claim on the windfall. Requests for fees will likely to continue until the victim runs out of money or realizes that he or she is being scammed.
And, as the scam unfolds, the criminal may have managed to trick the victim into supplying a large amount of personal and financial information. This data may later be used to steal the victim’s identity.
Over the last few years, it has become a common advance fee scammer tactic to use the names of real lottery winners as a means of gaining new victims. As in the case of Tom Crist, lottery winners often do give some or all of their winnings to charity.
However, it is extremely unlikely that any lottery winner would choose to randomly distribute millions of dollars to strangers based on the selection of their email address.
Internet users should be very wary of any email or social media message that claims that they have been awarded a large sum of money from a lottery win, grant or promotional draw, based on the random selection of their name, username, or email address. Such claims should be treated with the utmost suspicion.
Advance fee scams such as the one described here are very common and continue to find new victims every day.